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Dear Katrina, 

What happens if parents breach parenting orders?

The court’s expectation when a parenting order is made, either by agreement between the parents or a decision made by a judge after a trial, is that parents will abide by that order.

As one judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia often tells parties when appearing before her “A parenting order is an order of the Court.  It is not a suggestion.  It is not a guideline.  It is not a proposal.  And the Court expects parties to abide by that order”.

Katrina Peters

Each parent must do everything that the parenting order says including taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the terms of the order take effect.  It is also expected that parents encourage their children to comply with the orders including positively encouraging them to do something they may not wish to do.

A parent breaches (“contravenes”) an order if they:

  • intentionally fail to comply with the order
  • make no reasonable attempt to comply with the order
  • intentionally prevent compliance with the order by a person who is bound by it
  • help or assist a contravention of an order by a person who is bound by it.

There are serious consequences for failing to comply with the parenting order without a reasonable excuse.  Some of these include:

  • require you to enter into a bond
  • require you to participate in community service
  • order you to pay a fine
  • order you to a sentence of imprisonment

To remind parentings of their obligations with respect to a parenting order, whenever a parenting order is made by the Courts, an attachment entitled “Parenting orders – obligations, consequences and who can help” is attached so that they remain away of their obligations.

If you would like to know more – contact us today.